Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht (Bertolt) ( February 10, AugsburgBerlin1898 - 14 August 1956) was a German poet, playwright, theatre director and literary critic. His work was strongly politically committed. Brecht is seen as the founder of epic Theatre. He worked together with the composers Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill. Brecht fledGermany In 1933 and came after wanderings in the United States visit. He would later be prosecuted here because of UN-American activities, after which he went to East Berlin.


[hide]*1 Biography



Brecht is the son of Berthold Friedrich and Sofie Brecht (born Brezing) born into a wealthy family. His father is Director of a paper mill. He is retired and sickly In his youth. The young Bertolt Brecht is called, the call sign or Eugen Berthold he chooses himself until later. After elementary school (Volksschule) he visits the Realgymnasium-Peutinger in Augsburg, he in 1917 with a close wartime Abitur . At school, he is active in the school stage and in that time – at an early age – he is a critical theatre-maker. During his performances he criticises the first world war, which is underway. In an essay on Horace' fresh "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" ("it is sweet and fitting to die for the fatherland") (Carmina III/II, 13) he calls this "Zweckpropaganda". The soldiers, where Germany is so proud of, calls Brecht brainless cannon fodder ("Hohlköpfe") led by war propaganda. Brecht looks nothing beautiful to die for people and homeland, such as the young soldiers are told. For this essay, he almost put out of school, only the social position of his father and the intervention of his religion teacher prevent.

Study Time[Edit]Edit

After high school choose Brecht initially for a totally different career. In 1917 he goes physics, medicine and literature study at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. After just one year he must break off his studies to serve in the military: he has to serve as a nurse in a lazaretAugsburg. The first world war is a traumatic experience for Brecht, who feels nothing at all for violence or a eredood. The theme of people who just decide on the lives of others, will later come back regularly in his work. After the war he did not return to the University. Brecht is committed to make the world a better place, a place with more harmony and brotherly love. Theater seems him there – given his talents – the best place for it.


In 1918 he learns his first love Paula Banholzer, which brings his son Frank in the world in 1919 (Frank will die during a cinema fire in 1943 to the Eastern front in Russia). The love between Banholzer and Brecht cools quickly. In 1922 he married actress and singer Marianne Zoff, get them together in 1923 a daughter: Hanne. In 1924, his third child born: Stefan, not with his wife Marianne Zoff but by his mistress Helene Weigel that he has come to know in 1923. In 1927 he married Weigel, Brecht and Zoff and separating the rest of Brecht's life they remain together. Barbara Brecht's fourth child born In 1929.

Starting career and politics[Edit]Edit

Bertolt Brecht In 1920 close friendship with the at that time well-known German comedian Karl Valentin. From that time traveling Brecht regularly from Augsburg to Berlin to build a network in the theatrical world.Move the Brechts to Berlin In 1924, at that time the cultural center of Europe. In that year he immediately directs his first piece in the Max Reinhardt Theater. The second half of the twenties we can see if the period of political awareness of Brecht. Although he never will become a member of any party, he is seized by the communism. His work comes more and more dominated by the political stand. During the same period (from 1926) develops Brecht itself towards the epic Theatre, a form of theatre in which a narrative is central.

EPIC Theatre[Edit]Edit

Parallel with the development of its Marxist belief, in the second half of the 1920s, Brecht develops its own form of epic Theatre, also called ' dialectical Theatre '. He wants his audience to think. The emotion In his work is not central, but the ratio. Brecht does not want his audience let themselves be carried away by a passionate story, he wants them especially think about and awareness of human and social relations. In the thought of Brecht are people especially a product of the human and economic conditions, the society. Because people make society itself, they can also change. The people are born in of their will in turn be independent proportions, but writing history. With the epic Theatre social, and therefore human wants to Brecht, relationships in their reality show and roughness. He doesn't want to create a separate reality of reality by such things as room and light effects, too much empathy. He would like to question the evolving events, both on theatrical as a social right.

Collaboration with Kurt Weill[Edit]Edit

For the development of the epic theater was the cooperation with the composer Kurt Weill of great importance. Both share the same opinion: Theatre and may play a role in society, it may be more than entertainment.


[1]Monument to Bertolt Brecht at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin.

Because Brecht does not want his public to very emotional in his theater, he creates the theory of alienation (Verfremdungseffekt). He achieves that alienation by all kinds of techniques. So he strips the sequence of scenes of each logic (the sequence of scenes does not matter) and let him change decors for the eyes of the public. This makes it clear that she constantly look to stage. Also the players consciously distances love their role, they must not be too much empathize. In contrast to method acting (known from the US and developed by Lee Strasberg) couples Brechts players are aloof on and analyze their role or the situation every now and then, where they appeal to the public directly. He also makes regular use of a narrator who between scenes by the situation on the scene raises questions, clarified and regards. All of these techniques are not in themselves new: the Narrator is a modern application of the choir in the Greek tragedies and Brecht took its inspiration from the Verfremdungstechnieken for other commedia dell ' arte and the Oriental theater. His great merit is that he applied these techniques with a revolutionary goal.


With its pieces will keep us a mirror for Brecht, he wants to make visible the social structure and show that that are not unchanging. If we want to, we can make a better, more just world. Bit by bit, by creating insight, seeks a social upheaval or peaceful revolution after Brecht. His work is in that time strongly influenced by the ideas of Marx and Hegel, the revolution that he pursued was therefore a to Communist cut.


In 1928, the premiere of the Driestuiveropera place, an adaptation of an English opera of the 18th century (The Beggar's Opera). Brecht edited the opera in collaboration withElisabeth Hauptmann, the music of Kurt Weill. With the Driestuiveropera achieves one of his greatest successes – Brecht a success that is matched in Germany also after rarely more. The Driestuiveropera is a very socially-critical piece in which social relations to be denounced. Brecht rubs off on the gap between rich and poor, the burgermansmoraal, corruption and the fruitless attempts of people to get to the good to aim. Famous phrase from the opera: ' first come eat, only then the morality '.

Flight departing from Germany[Edit]Edit

In early 1933, the bloom time of the national socialism, the performance of Brecht's piece ' the measure ' rough disrupted by the police. The organizers, including Brecht, be prosecuted for high treason. On 28 February 1933, one day after the Reichstag partly in flames is absorbed, leaving Brecht, his family and friends Berlin and flights to Skovsbostrand in Denmark. Here will remain five years Brecht. In May 1933 the works of Brecht in Germany to forbidden literature explained, they fall prey to the burning of the books.

Exile in Denmark[Edit]Edit

Although he during his exile and writes some of his best pieces, staging Brecht that time has seen as the most difficult of his life. Brecht, the man who strove, powerless to a revolution along the lateral line. In 1938 he makes the piece ' the life of Galilei ', this piece is about the great physicist coming under threat of torture by the Inquisition his theory about the movement of the Earth (around the Sun) revokes it. Brecht has no doubt can empathize with people who have to give up their ideas under pressure from society. In this period some of which fell together with the time of the Show trials in the Soviet Union, in which Stalin condemned thousands of innocent party members randomly to the camps or worse, he suggested a behind the Stalinism. Brecht appeared in his review of these victims to the philosopher Sidney Hook: "How more innocent they are, the more they have earned death." [1]


Brecht leaves Denmark In 1939, he lives a year close to departs in May 1940 to Stockholm and Helsinki. During his exile from Brecht in his pieces never explicitly criticized the Government, the State or society.However, this criticism for the wise is still present. But by his experiences in Germany he is become more cautious, he's not going to be a martyr. The themes are still the same, but he grabs them more subtle, in a smaller setting. In the summer of 1940 Brecht writes the piece ' Puntila ' – about the good and the bad man, United in one person. The piece is about the relationship between superiors and Juniors, the role that everyone should play and eventually voluntarily plays and on mutual exploitation. The protagonist is a rich landowner Puntila, sober, he is a tough businessman who observe nothing or no one what are. But he is goodness itself, a tipsy man who restore ladybugs on the grass. An age old theme that we know from Goethe's Faust. The antagonist Matti is the driver and thus subordinate of Puntila. In sober condition acts Puntila is canine opposite Matti, Matti behaves submissive. Once drunk, his great friend as Puntila Matti sees equal. Matti appreciates that? No, Matti is calculating and tries to exploit his boss. That is a folder in the pieces of Brecht: we see not one good and one bad batch but two bad ones who are both trying to use each other as soon as the situation allows. Brecht's play was the inspiration for Paul Dessau to compose his opera Puntila (1957-1958).

In the United States[Edit]Edit

In 1941 travels to Vladivostok and then by ship Brecht to leave for the United States, where he takes up residence in Santa Monica, near Hollywood. He would go to work as writer, but of that plan comes not much right. Brecht is baffled about the laziness of Americans, they are all not waiting for critical or political pieces, but are in Brecht's eyes only looking for amusement. Brecht feels – in his own words – a teacher without students. In America is exactly one piece of Brecht staged in 1943: ' life of the Galilei ', which he co-wrote with Charles Laughton translates. Laughton will also play the lead role in the piece.

Persecution as a communist[Edit]Edit

After the Second World War is America on the eve of the cold war, Communists are seen as suspicious and anti-American. Brecht is quickly labeled as a communist and prosecuted as such. In October 1947 he must for the Commission for Anti-us activities appear. The day after the trial – the day of the premiere of "life of the Galilei ' in New York – the United States and settled in the leaves Brecht Swiss Zurich. He actually wants to Germany, but he is denied entry to the then American occupation zone. Perforce he remains a year in Zurich.

To East Berlin[Edit]Edit

Brecht with the beginning of 1949 a Czechoslovakian passport leaves via Prague to East Berlin. He takes up residence in the House that later becomes known as the Brecht House in the Weißensee district. In East Berlin he lives a quiet and relatively luxurious life. In the year of arrival, he, along with his wife, Helene Weigel on the Berliner Ensemble theatre-maker he Also picks up the thread if. again. Are pieces are occasionally staged in cities outside the GDR. Those performances outside the GDR lead again to tension in the GDR itself, he gets to do with the censorship of the Eastern bloc and sees some of his pieces rejected. Brecht Later will say he is used by the West.

Brecht's response to the mass protests in 1953[Edit]Edit

When the GDR-workers on 17 June 1953 in Berlin until a popular uprising with Brecht himself founded the same day came an open letter in the newspaper to Walter Ulbricht for its commitment to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany he gave to express ' organized fascist elements from the West ' the debt and also sent short solidarity to the highest representative of the USSR in Germany Wladimir Semjonowitsch Semjonowand Otto Grotewohl. A few days later, an article appeared by Brecht in Neues Deutschland in which he praised the violent Soviet intervention: ' only because of the intervention of Soviet troops are quick and careful these efforts cancelled out. ' [2]

Last years of life[Edit]Edit

In his last years of life keeps Brecht mainly with promoting in his eyes talented writers and actors. In East Berlin he moves once more, the Chaussee street right next to the cemetery where he is buried after his death in 1956. Just before his death he may – in 1955 – still the Stalin Peace Prize receiving. Bertolt Brecht dies in 1956 on 58-year-old age to a heart attack, his wife Helene Weigel dies in 1971.

After his death[Edit]Edit

To keep the pieces in the 1960s by Brecht in a number of countries banned or controversial. There is no longer any question of 2014. In the Chaussee Street, his last residence, was founded in 1989 a monument to Brecht. A lot of information about Brecht (pieces, journals etc.) is today to be found in the Bertolt Brecht Archive, owned by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. This archive contains a wealth of information and is widely used by Brecht-researchers. A number of operas, plays, songs, books and poems by Brecht are still available and are still performed his pieces here and there. The theme is in many cases also today still topical. Much work has been translated into multiple languages, but not all. For the more unknown pieces may interested parties only still at a antique store visit.

Attention to Brecht in Netherlands[Edit]Edit

In 1998 appeared the book has gotten the feeling mind -Brecht in Netherlands. [3]

In books city Deventer was made from 25 to 29 January 2008 the first Bertolt Brecht Festival. In multiple locations in the city were lectures and one could enjoy theater productions and film screenings. The workshop ' singFight songs and performances by artists were among the highlights. Also in February 2009 is in Deventer a Brecht Festival organized made specially for the occasion, including a programme of the Willem Breuker collective. The festival is expected to be a recurring event. On the final afternoon of Poetry International 2011 (Rotterdam) Bertolt Brecht was commemorated.


The titles of the pieces are included in German (taken from the German Wikipedia) because a large number of pieces is never translated.


In chronological order

  • Baal (1918)
  • Trommeln in der Nacht
  • Im Dickicht der Städte
  • Leben Eduards des Zweiten von England
  • Mann ist Mann
  • Die Dreigroschenoper
  • Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
  • Der Ozeanflug, also called: Der Lindberghflug or Der Flug der Lindberghs
  • Das Badener Lehrstück vom Einverständnis, also called: Lehrstück
  • Der Jasager. Der The Neinsager
  • That The Decision
  • Johanna der Schlachthöfe those Holy
  • That Ausnahme und die Line
  • That Mutter
  • Rundköpfe und die Spitzköpfe which
  • That the Horatier und die Kuriatier
  • Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches
  • Leben des Galilei
  • Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder
  • Lukullus Das Verhör des Lukullus, also called Focused or That Verurteilung des vor: Lukullus
  • Der gute Mensch von Sezuan
  • Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti
  • Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui
  • Gesichte der Simone Machard also: those that Stimmen
  • Schweik
  • Der Kreidekreis Caucasian
  • That Tage der Commune
  • Turandot oder Der Kongreß der Weißwäscher
  • Adaptation of Antigone (1947)
  • Adaptation of Shakespeare 's Coriolanus (1952/53)

One-Act Plays[Edit]Edit

  • That Bibel
  • That Gewehre der Frau Carrar
  • That Hochzeit, also: those Kleinbürgerhochzeit
  • Der Bettler oder Der tote Hund
  • Indians Of The Prairy
  • There treibt einen Teufel aus
  • Lux in Tenebris
  • Der Fischzug
  • Dancing
  • Was Kalpana das requirements?
  • Die sieben Todsünden

Songs and poems[Edit]Edit

  • Lieder zur Klampfe (1918)
  • Psalms (1920)
  • Erinnerung an die Marie a. (1920)
  • Bertolt Brechts Hauspostille (1916-1925)
  • Those Augsburger Sonette (1925 – 1927)
  • Those Songs der Dreigroschenoper (1928)
  • Aus dem Lesebuch für Städtebewohner (1926-1927)
  • That night bearing (1931)
  • Geschichten aus der Revolution (1932)
  • Sonette (1932 – 1934)
  • English Sonette (1934)
  • Chöre Gedichte Lieder (1933)
  • Chinesische Gedichte (1938 – 1949)
  • Studien (1934-1938)
  • Svendborger Gedichte ([1926] – 1937)
  • Steffinsche Sammlung (1939 – 1942)
  • Hollywoodelegien (1942)
  • Gedichte im Exil ([1944])
  • Deutsche Satires (1945)
  • Kinderlieder (1950)
  • Buckower Elegien (1953)


  • Bargan läßt es sein
  • Geschichten vom Herrn Keuner
  • Dreigroschenroman
  • Der Augsburger Kreidekreis
  • Flüchtlingsgespräche
  • Kalendergeschichten
  • That unwürdige Greisin
  • That Geschäfte des Herrn Julius Cäsar

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